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The überrich are full of ideas. Not, unfortunately, ideas to help humanity, but to help themselves grab more money and power at our expense.
Take Tom Perkins. He’s one of a growing number of the “put-upon” rich – billionaires who’ve grabbed a fabulous fortune by hook or crook, but now complain that they are victims of a “rising tide of hatred.” Excuse me, Tom, but the words “billionaire” and “victim” are not a natural pairing. Yet, even though he candidly concedes that he lives a life of vulgar excess, Perkins wrote a sob-story letter in January to the Wall Street Journal pleading for relief from the “war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.'”
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He was roundly ridiculed for that, but he’s since come back with a pragmatic idea for redressing the grievous plight of the put-upon one-percenters. What’s needed, he explained, is a slight tweaking of America’s democratic election system. “The Tom Perkins system,” he lectured, is “you don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
Gosh, so much vanity and ignorance crammed into only three sentences! Apparently, no one has informed Tom that poor people pay a larger percentage of their income in various taxes than do privileged tax evaders like him. Nor does he seem aware that a democratic government can not be anything like a corporation, for government must serve the whole public, while a corporation is an autocratic hierarchy that serves only a few. And golly, Tom, why should you and all of your billionaire buddies get anything special – like extra votes – just for paying taxes? What you get in return for taxes is what we all get: Civilization.
I thought I would write to Tom about his plan, but then I realized, I don’t know how to spell “Thhhbbbbbllllltttttttt.”
“How One Billionaire’s Idea To Give Rich People More Votes Is Already In The Works,” www.thinkprogress.org, February 14, 2014.
“Cry me a river full of gold: 1% is the loneliest number,” Austin American Statesman, February 2, 2014.